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Picasso work top sale at record-breaking British auction

London: A celebrated masterpiece by Pablo Picasso sold at Christie`s auction house in London for 34.8 million pounds, in a sale that set a record for the amount of money made at a British art auction.

The ‘Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto’, also known as ‘The Absinthe Drinker’, is a 1903 work from the Spanish painter`s Blue Period, and was sold for the equivalent of USD 51.6 million.

Its expected sale price was between 30 and 40 million pounds.

The sale, which also included works by Gustav Klimt, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse, fetched a total of 152.6 million pounds, the highest amount ever at a British art
auction.

It broke the previous record of 147 million pounds set at a Sotheby`s sale in February.

‘The Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto’, which was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder depicts one of Picasso`s artist companions, leaning on a table with a glass of absinthe and smoke curling from his pipe.

The painting was sold by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber`s foundation, a charity which focuses on the promotion of arts, culture and heritage in Britain. It acquired the work for USD 29.2 million in New York in 1995.

The second most expensive work at the auction was a portrait of a woman by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, ‘Frauenbildnis (Portrait of Ria Munk III)’, which sold for
18.8 million pounds.

PTI

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